Off The Table

The Division I Baseball Issues Committee is concerned about the pace of play, but its members know there is little they can do about the pace of academic, scholarship and scheduling reforms. At its July 28 meeting, the Issues Committee debated recommending that the roster cap on scholarship players remain at 30 instead of dropping to 27 as scheduled, and debated supporting a proposal by Conference USA to start the season a week earlier, but in the end the committee decided to let matters run their course.

Dave Keilitz, executive director of the American Baseball Coaches Association, said a survey of Division I coaches reveals that a strong majority (65 percent) want the cap to remain at 30 instead of decreasing to 27 next year. But he said the main reason for the committee’s inaction on the issue was a strong indication that university presidents were unwilling to tinker with any part of the sweeping academic reform legislation until it has been in place for a couple of years. A week later, the Academic Enhancement Working Group followed the Issues Committee’s lead, issuing no recommendations about scholarship or scheduling issues, other than to denounce a proposal by faculty representatives of the Pacific-10, West Coast and Big South conferences that would change the schedule to 52 games in the spring and four in the fall. Keilitz said the two committees were content to let the CUSA proposal for a 14-week season move through the normal legislative process. If all goes well, it could go into effect by the 2010 season.

The issues and academic enhancement committees focused instead on ways to improve the sport’s pace of play, a concern that was also addressed by the Rules Committee a few weeks earlier.

“As coaches, we have to make a great attempt to try and speed up our game. Basically, I think it’s for the good of the game, for the good of the player, and especially for the good of the fan.” Keilitz said. “It has grown in length every year. People don’t want to sit through a four-and-a-half-hour game. You lose the fan base and you lose television.”